cshalizi + via:mraginsky   4

Power, Pleasure, and Profit — David Wootton | Harvard University Press
"We pursue power, pleasure, and profit. We want as much as we can get, and we deploy instrumental reasoning—cost-benefit analysis—to get it. We judge ourselves and others by how well we succeed. It is a way of life and thought that seems natural, inevitable, and inescapable. As David Wootton shows, it is anything but. In Power, Pleasure, and Profit, he traces an intellectual and cultural revolution that replaced the older systems of Aristotelian ethics and Christian morality with the iron cage of instrumental reasoning that now gives shape and purpose to our lives.
"Wootton guides us through four centuries of Western thought—from Machiavelli to Madison—to show how new ideas about politics, ethics, and economics stepped into a gap opened up by religious conflict and the Scientific Revolution. As ideas about godliness and Aristotelian virtue faded, theories about the rational pursuit of power, pleasure, and profit moved to the fore in the work of writers both obscure and as famous as Hobbes, Locke, and Adam Smith. The new instrumental reasoning cut through old codes of status and rank, enabling the emergence of movements for liberty and equality. But it also helped to create a world in which virtue, honor, shame, and guilt count for almost nothing, and what matters is success.
"Is our world better for the rise of instrumental reasoning? To answer that question, Wootton writes, we must first recognize that we live in its grip."

--- Wotton's book on the scientific revolution is fantastic, so I'm looking forward to this.
to:NB  books:noted  history_of_ideas  history_of_morals  great_transformation  wootton.david  enlightment  rationality  via:mraginsky 
july 2018 by cshalizi
"Ergodicity, Decisions, and Partial Information" (Ramon van Handel)
"The aim of this paper is to exhibit connections between pathwise optimal strategies [for sequential prediction with partial information] and notions from ergodic theory. The sequential decision problem is developed in the general setting of an ergodic dynamical system ... with partial information ... . The existence of pathwise optimal strategies grounded in two basic properties: the conditional ergodic theory of the dynamical system, and the complexity of the loss function. When the loss function is not too complex, a general sufficient condition for the existence of pathwise optimal strategies is that the dynamical system is a conditional K-automorphism relative to the past observations ... If the conditional ergodicity assumption is strengthened, the complexity assumption can be weakened. Several examples demonstrate the interplay between complexity and ergodicity, which does not arise in the case of full information. Our results also yield a decision-theoretic characterization of weak mixing in ergodic theory, and establish pathwise optimality of ergodic nonlinear filters."

-Does this relate to when/whether we can have a uniform AEP?
in_NB  ergodic_theory  decision_theory  information_theory  van_handel.ramon  via:ded-maxim  stochastic_processes  via:mraginsky  have_read 
july 2012 by cshalizi
Introduction to Online Optimization (Bubeck)
"to_teach" tag a sudden brainstorm for how to make next year's statistical computing class either unbeatably awesome or an absolute disaster
in_NB  online_learning  regression  individual_sequence_prediction  optimization  machine_learning  learning_theory  via:mraginsky  to_read  to_teach:statcomp  re:freshman_seminar_on_optimization 
december 2011 by cshalizi

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